Image of first lines of the Constitution

Constitution Day at NIU

About Constitution Day

Constitution Day commemorates the formation and signing of the U.S. Constitution by 39 forefathers on Sept. 17, 1787, recognizing all who, are born in the U.S. or by naturalization, have become citizens. When Constitution Day falls on a weekend or on another holiday, schools and other institutions observe the holiday on an adjacent weekday.

Constitution Day--along with Independence Day and Presidents' Day--is an important part of the cultural heritage of the United States of America because it recognizes the value of the American experiment and the success of a nation of free people whose rights and liberties are protected by a written Constitution.

The law establishing the present holiday was created in 2004 with the passage of an amendment by Senator Robert Byrd to the Omnibus spending bill of 2004. Before this law was enacted, the holiday was known as Citizenship Day. In addition to renaming the holiday, the act mandates that all publicly funded educational institutions, and all federal agencies, provide educational programming on the history of the American Constitution on that day.

Constitution Day Resources

National Constitution Center
Information includes a countdown to Constitution day, historical information about the Constitution including an interpretation of each section of the Constitution and the "Constitution Hall Pass," an award-winning video series about the Constitution.

U.S. Senate Historical Office
Contains information about the system of checks and balances signed in 1789, including the original text and a detailed explanation of each part of the document.

Colonial Williamsburg
Website contains the full text of the U.S. Constitution, including links to translations in 11 languages.

National Archives
Contains teaching activities for observing Constitution Day.
In addition to the entire text of the Constitution, the Bill of Rights and the Declaration of Independence, read about interesting insights into the men who wrote the Constitution, how it was created, and how the Supreme Court has interpreted the United States Constitution in the two centuries since its creation. The site also features interactive quizzes about the Constitution and the founding fathers.

Constitution Day Events

Constitution Day is celebrated Wendesday, Sept. 16 and Thursday, Sept. 17, 2020. The planned events are:

  • Thursday, Sept. 17, noon-1 p.m., online via Zoom
    Annual Supreme Court Roundup. College of Law professors Sarah Fox, Daniel McConkie and Maybell Romero will discuss recent cases decided by the United States Supreme Court. Open to the whole university community! Register at
  • Wednesday, Sept. 16 - Thursday, Sept. 17
    Two political science general education classes (POLS 100 and POLS 150) will celebrate the occasion by discussing the origins of the current Constitution on Sept. 17, 18 and/or 19.
  • Thursday, Sept. 17
    Stop by the Financial Aid and Scholarship Office in Swen Parson 245 to pick up a pocket-sized copy of the Constitution (limited copies available).
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